Friday, June 12, 2009

Cruising Gadget: Duralite Solar Panels

We have had two of the Duralite (GPDL-20) 20 watt solar panels onboard for several months now. They have worked very well including over 1000 miles off shore. They supplement our other large panels that produce about 120 watts. Our total of 160 watts allows us to be on the hook indefinitely without starting the engine.

In full sunlight they will put out about 1.63-1.65 amps. They also work in lower light an even when half shaded.

The big advantage to these is their small size. They are 24.5 x 20 inches and about .25 inches thick, weighing under 2 pounds. This allows you to move them around or stow them away easily.

At 11.5 dollars per amp, they are a bit pricier than large traditional panels. They work in places that larger panels would not fit.

You can also get these in 5 and 10 watt models. The smaller models would work well for unattended battery maintenance.

These are made by Carmanah Technologies Corporation in Victoria, British Columbia. We got ours from Alter Systems in Berkeley, but they are available at many solar outlets.

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